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December 2020

13 Dec – “What Am I Supposed To Do?

I recently asked God a question, “What am I supposed to do? “I felt Him reply, “Seek me! Seek my face and abide in me”.

Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. “I am the vine; you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing”. (John 15:4)

Each of us has a purpose, but Jesus said for us not to worry, toil or to get into the system of the world as we pursue fulfilling that purpose. He said to, “Seek me and all those things everyone runs after, I will add them to you. I will lead you in the way you should go”. He even says He will teach us to profit and prosper in all you do. (Matthew 7:7-8)

“I am the LORD your God, who teaches you to profit, Who leads you in the way you should go. (Isaiah 48:17)

Nowhere in the bible does it say run after success, money, prestige or even a partner. But it does say seek Jesus, fix your eyes on Him, surrender and follow Him. Then He will add to you; He will prosper you. He will give grace and favour to you.

The thing is, to seek God, we have to reach the point where we surrender and can honestly say, “Not my way, but your way”. When we surrender and remain surrendered, He takes what we have and makes something extraordinary.

When we surrender we acknowledge that we’ve been trying to make things happen our way and now we let go of our course, and choose God’s, moving as He does.

It’s surrender in the little things, as well as the bigger things because God wants to lead us to abundant life by being able to guide us with a gentle look or a quiet word. How much simpler and full of drama our lives would be if we surrendered. (Psalm 32:8-9)

Jesus said “You are My friends if you do what I command you. “No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you”(John 15:15

Check your heart. Are you surrendered? Does He have all your heart and life, or just what is comfortable? Surrender is not a one-off decision; it’s walking in that place every day.

Today spend some time just seeking Jesus to get to know Him more and do what He asks quickly. He has blessings on His mind, and when you seek him and surrender, He’ll lead and guide you into the right place.

Prayer: Lord, please forgive me where I have been challenging to lead and guide because of my fear, stubbornness and lack of trust in you.  Please help me to walk in surrender and to seek you daily.  In Jesus name Amen

12 Dec – Value The Real

Today we brought our first real Christmas tree. We decided it was the ideal opportunity for a real tree since I sold our artificial Christmas tree a few weeks ago as we’re moving interstate and should be there by now. Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened yet, and we have no Christmas tree, little furniture and a house full of packing boxes.

So today we chose to make the best of a problematic situation and went on a tree hunting expedition with our two youngest children who are still in the same state as us.

Everyone talks about having a real tree, but I discovered today that real Christmas trees are different – they aren’t uniform in shape, are all unique, don’t stand up by themselves and make a huge mess. Add to that is the issue my husband has with real trees. On wrestling with our newly purchased Christmas tree to get it in the car and then into the house, he broke out in a rash and began sneezing uncontrollably. It seems he might be a little allergic to our tree.

However, there are definite benefits to a real tree. They smell amazing, made me laugh about Christmas for the first time in weeks, and remind me of my childhood and my Dad cutting our tree for us every Christmas Eve. They remind me that the real and genuine things in our lives are not perfect, predictable, uniform and all the same, but unique.

Real often has flaws and inconsistencies when compared to the artificial, and they can require support until you figure them out. Real is unpredictable and needs to be treated differently to the fake things and those people in our lives that won’t allow us to see them for who they are.

Real is vulnerable, authentic, ministers into a part of our soul that the artificial cannot even touch and is worth the effort and the fuss.

You may not have a real tree this Christmas – but look for and learn to value the “real” everywhere else, because long after you forget the artificial and fake things in your life, you will remember the Real.

“ So keep your thoughts continually fixed on all that is authentic and real, honourable and admirable, beautiful and respectful, pure and holy, merciful and kind. And fasten your thoughts on every glorious work of God, praising him always.” (Philippians 4:8 TPT)

 “But test everything; hold fast what is good.” (1 Thessalonians 5:21)

“For you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” (James 1:3)

Prayer: Lord thank you for the real all around me. Please help me to see what is true and authentic in my life and to value that above anything else because real is what lasts. In Jesus name Amen.

11 Dec – Strange Gift Wrapping

“God I look to you.” It’s something I’ve learnt to say and do a lot, especially when the things we face in life seem beyond our understanding or ability to fathom.

When we look to God it means we are no longer leaning on our own understanding or strength but acknowledging Him in all our ways. He is over, around and in everything, and when we hold on to Him He will come through for us. Sometimes it’s just that His way of answering and presenting things can be very different to what we expect.

The truth is that God does give great gifts and answers our prayers as we look to Him. It’s just that He can have strange gift wrapping. Take for example Jesus the saviour of the world and how he came gift wrapped as a baby and was placed in a manger in a dirty stable. He ultimately found himself nailed to a wooden cross before He rose again and fulfilled His purpose to deliver mankind. He was the answer to everything, but He and what He did for us was gift wrapped very differently to what everyone expected. Which is why we shouldn’t be surprised when what we may receive from God has unusual wrapping. Our gifts, blessings and answers to prayer can be wrapped oddly and even not look like they contain a gift at all. But if we can hang in there and keep looking to Him we will see that He is blessing and working for us.

Today if you are looking at your life and wondering about your circumstances and the future, I encourage you to look to God and put your life firmly in His hands. Don’t be put off by His gift wrapping because there will be a blessing and answer if you’ll trust Him to reveal and help you unwrap it. God is the ultimate gift giver, loves you and wants you to know today that everything is going to work out just fine.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” (James 1:17 NLT)

“For the LORD God is a sun and a shield; the LORD gives grace and glory; He withholds no good thing from those who walk with integrity.” (Psalm 84:11)

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Prayer: Lord please help me to keep looking to you and to trust that everything you have for me will work out for my good I trust you today in Jesus name Amen.

10 Dec – Let Your Pile Of Good Things Grow

I read a quote recently that said, “instead of thinking about solving your whole life, what if you just think about adding additional good things, one at a time. Just let your pile of good things grow.”

Sometimes we can have the mindset that if all the areas of our life that we aren’t especially happy about were no longer an issue we would feel more joyful and content. So we get busy fixating upon the negative piles in our life, and get less and less joyful and expectant of God doing good things as we do.

The bible teaches that “as a man thinks so shall he be, and to think upon those things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely of good report, and praiseworthy.” (Proverbs 23:7; Philippians 4:8) God actually wants us to be focusing and believing for wonderful, amazing, awe-inspiring things every day. You can’t overdose on joy and so we can just keep on adding good things that make us happy into our lives.

So I asked some of our kids this morning how they would grow their pile of good things today – the answer from our teenage son was, “sport, I’d add more and more sport, and food, but then I could get fat, so I’d have to add more sport.”

Our eleven-year-old daughter said, “I’d add to my pile of good things by helping other people, and being friendly because that’s what makes me happy.

Our youngest child was a little shy about what he’d add to his pile of good things, but finally decided; “he’d spend more time with the family doing fun things and riding horses”.

Instead of looking at all that isn’t just the way we’d like it, let’s think about how we can add additional good things to our pile of joy so our good pile, and not any negative piles, just keeps on growing.

Today schedule in some time to do something you enjoy, even if it’s just one thing. Make a quality decision to add to your pile of good things and as you do ask God to fill you with His joy. You’ll be glad you did!

Prayer: Lord thank you that you surround me with good things today. Would you please help me to shift my focus off any negative piles in my life, so that the good can grow. In Jesus name Amen.

9 Dec – Trusting God

This is a repost but maybe someone needs to be reminded of this today.

Today our youngest son Isaac got something in his eye which needed to be rinsed out. We were outside at the time visiting friends and I had to lead him up a flight of stairs into the house to attend to his eye. Leading him by the hand Isaac said, “Mum I’m trusting you to lead me as I’ve got both eyes closed and I can’t see where I am going.”

Isaac trusted me, believing that because I cared for and loved him I wouldn’t allow him to fall or hurt himself.

Throughout the bible we are encouraged repeatedly to trust in God, and warned against putting our trust in princes, riches or ourselves. In comparison these things are like the blind leading the blind, when we have a God who is all seeing and all knowing to guide us instead.

Trust in God does not mean being oblivious to the facts and what is before us, but rather trust recognises and assesses the dangers, threats, and challenges and looks beyond and sees God. Trust in God discerns, much like Isaac trusting me to lead him as he climbed the stairs with his eyes closed, that God loves us and is trustworthy and faithful enough to lead us wherever we may need to go.

There is no fear in trust, for the two are opposites. When we fear, we know we are not fully trusting. When we trust, fear gives way to assurance, peace and confidence.

Just as Isaac had a complete confidence in my love for him to lead him safely, trust in God gives us a confidence of our safety, wellbeing and a hope for the future. It’s also in this trust we find rest for our souls.

Today take God’s hand, and be confident in His power, love and ability to protect and care for you. Choose to trust Him to lead you in every step you take, just like a little child trusts their Mum or Dad to care for, and direct them in where to go. Take hold of God’s hand, knowing that because He loves us we can trust Him.

“I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me.  I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” (Psalm 16:7-8)

For the Lord will be at your side and keep your foot from being snared.” (Proverbs 3:26)

Prayer: Lord I choose to take your hand just like a little child would, so that you can lead me wherever I need to go. Even when I can’t see the road ahead I know you do, so I choose to follow where you lead and trust in your love for me today. In Jesus name Amen.

8 Dec – What Am I Soaking Up?

What we surround ourselves with is essentially what we will become. Therefore to make positive steps forward  in life it helps to take an honest look at ourselves; at our relationships, past times, hobbies and habits and whether they are beneficial or not, so that we can make quality decisions about our future.

The bible teaches us about wisdom and says, “He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” (Proverbs 13:20) That’s because our souls and spirits are like sponges which will soak up whatever is around them the most. The question to regularly ask ourselves is, “What am I soaking up?”

The bible gives us a guideline. It ‘s found in Philippians 4:8, and says,

Finally, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think on these things.” (Philippians 4:9)

When we filter all that we are through this guideline it soon becomes clear where we may need to make some changes and what and who are the positive influences in our life.

I encourage you to consider what you are soaking up in your life and whether those things are helping to strengthen and build your purpose and faith today?

It’s always our choice and if we choose God’s way of living and seek after Him, He promises He will equip and empower us to be the person we were always created to be.

“I call heaven and earth to speak against you today. I have put in front of you life and death, the good and the curse. So choose life.” (Deuteronomy 30:19)

You don’t get wormy apples off a healthy tree, nor good apples off a diseased tree. The health of the apple tells the health of the tree. You must begin with your own life-giving lives. It’s who you are, not what you say and do, that counts. Your true being brims over into true words and deeds.” (Luke 6:45 The Message)

Prayer: Lord please help me to choose wisely the things I “soak up” into my life. May they be things that are true honourable, right, pure, lovely and praise worthy, so that my life will also reflect these things. In Jesus Name Amen.

7 Dec – What To Do When You Break

Life is about balance, and keeping healthy is vitally important to our quality of life.

I learnt the hard way how essential balance is after the birth of our fifth child. I was under pressure mentally and physically, which then affected my emotional and spiritual state. Something had to give, and that something was me. I essentially “broke”.

Looking back now, it wasn’t surprising. We had been pushing and trying to fit into a “church planting” box of how you do church for years. It was not us, and we felt pressured. My husband and I were what you might term “go hards”. We gave everything, even when it hurt.

Combine that with a terminally ill father, who was still grieving over the death of my brother, financial pressures, two teenagers, two younger children, a newborn, and a severe lack of sleep, and you have a recipe for something to break, which in this case was me.

Thankfully, I have a loving husband who gave up everything to bring balance and joy back into our lives. He knew something had to change and made the call and sacrifice to walk away from 8 years of work and to put his family before his ministry and dream. He got regular employment close to home, which took the stress and pressure off our busy lives. It helped provide space and support for me to recover, which I did.

Over the coming months, I vigorously walked up and down the hills surrounding our home, venting to God how unimpressed I was. I let all the pent-up emotions, thoughts and hurt out. Many times, that included telling God how annoyed and angry I was. My husband and I talked, we examined our motives, our values, our hearts, and what was important to us. We were careful to eat well, and I looked after myself more. I made some new friends and did things that prospered my soul. As a result, I grew more thankful and joyful day by day, and God restored and mended my brokenness. I’m now much more self-aware, resilient and compassionate. I know God more because I have found Him to be constant and loving even in my ‘broken” place.

Now I recognise when I am pushing myself too hard or heading towards a “hole” in my thought life. I stop what I am doing, and change direction quicker than I used to. I know the consequences of not looking after myself, the sort of people who affect me negatively, and mostly I choose to stay away from them. Lastly, I know how vital it is to “soak” in God’s loving presence a lot.

In amongst my brokenness, I put some practical things into place to help bring balance and perspective back into my life, and it worked.

Here are the practical steps I found helpful:

  1. Get enough sleep. Easier said than done with little ones but letting someone know you need some help and rest is one of the best things we can do. Ask for help if you need it.
  2. Eat healthy: When we are feeling yuck, we often reach for the foods that are not helpful. Eating well makes our bodies function at their best, so choose wisely.
  3. Do something just for you every day. Learn to prosper your souldo something that makes you smile, that you enjoy or interests you. “I wish above all things that you may prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers.” (1 John 3:12)
  4.  Get out of the house every day and talk to people (or jump on a call or zoom) Have a conversation and interact. Depression is very alienating, and interacting is probably the last thing we want to do, but it’s vital for a balanced life. We need support, and when we ask God, He will put people in our lives who will be there to “bear our burdens with us”. Carry one another’s burdens, and in this way, you will fulfil the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2)
  5. Exercise: It quickly elevates our mood, relieves stress and tension, and helps every part of our system operate as it should. When we look after our physical health, it affects every other area of our life.
  6. Have an interest; a hobby. Try some new things. You might be surprised at what you discover about yourself, get to meet some interesting people and make some new friends in the process.
  7. Soak in God’s presence.  Much like when we wash the dishes, it is much easier for the dirt to come off if you soak them first. God wants us to soak in His presence so He can cleanse and refresh us also.

The great thing about God is that He is the restorer. He always has a way through and way to put back together what is damaged. He promises to turn our mourning into dancing and our sorrow into joy.

You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy.” (Psalm 30:11)

For I will restore health to you, and your wounds I will heal, declares the Lord” (Jeremiah 30:17)

Today know that God is for you. He sees your struggles, your weakness, and every circumstance. No hole is too deep that God cannot reach you or hurt too big that He can’t restore and heal you. Trust Him today to meet you where you are at, and to lead you into peace and life.

Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)

Prayer: Lord, thank you that you love me regardless of how I feel. Please help me to reach out to you, and to take the steps that will bring balance and wholeness to my life, in Jesus Name Amen.

6 Dec – Seize The Day

Carpe diem – or ‘seize the day’ – is “one of the oldest mottos in Western history and for me means living with a life resolution. It means knowing what my life is about so I can then a go out each day seizing the opportunities and life God has given me.

When we live with the attitude to seize the day it motivates us and at times even catapults us into being who God has called us to be. God doesn’t want us to live lives that are hesitant, fearful or full of doubt and unbelief. He wants us to soar like eagles, to stand on the heights, to do mighty exploits for Him and to live our lives in such a way that people look and say “they are the ones that the Lord has blessed.” It does us no good to shrink back from who we are created to be, and it doesn’t help or encourage anyone else either.

Seizing the day is living with purpose which as a result helps us to remain on the path God has set for us and to not get distracted. It is those people with no vision and reason to seize the day that wander aimlessly through life, not the ones who know what and who they are in God.

Today I encourage you to seek and enquire after God what your life resolution is. If you have a heartbeat God has a plan and purpose for your life and amazing things for you to experience in Him. Don’t sit back being lazy or complacent with the life you have been given, but instead seize the day and endeavour to run your race well. Run into all that God has called you to be and do, seizing hold and making the most of the gift of each and every day.

“So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days.” (Ephesians 5:15-16)

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.” (Hebrews 12:1)

Prayer: Lord thankyou for this day and for the life you have planned for me. Please help me to seize the day and every opportunity you place before me. I ask that you help me to run fully into all that you have for me and the vision and dreams you have placed in my heart. In Jesus name Amen.

5 Dec – God’s Got This

I was reading the following older post today and was reminded once again that life is not an emergency and that God knows and has a way through everything I am concerned about or need to do. Be encouraged that when you put everything in His hands and follow His lead everything will work out as it should…..

Today for the second time in a week I visited the post office to finalise new passports for our three younger children. I was all ready for the documents to be lodged when the passport officer notified me that some of our signatures weren’t exactly the same, which meant we would have to redo two lots of documents again. On leaving the counter I could feel my stress and irritation levels rising as I thought about having to find time once again to resign and have witnessed the relevant pages.

At this point my daughter who was with me quietly said, “Don’t worry about it Mum. God knows, and if we are meant to be going anywhere He will help you work it out, so calm down and stop stressing about it.”

It was at this moment that I had to decide what I was going to believe. Is it that God is with me, helping to work everything out for my good, or is it that my life and circumstances are just one big emergency where it’s all going to end in stress and disaster?

Many people justify their frenetic crazy schedules and behaviour by believing that life is an emergency! Our actions can signify that we think everything is urgent and life altering, when actually we are the ones who often create the pressure situations we face, as we turn little things into a life emergency.

Perhaps we allow our own unrealistic expectations, OCD behaviours, lack of prayer and time with God, and the failure to remember to maintain balance and have fun while pursuing our goals, to all steal our peace, quality of relationships and ability to hear God clearly. We instead turn life into a constant series of dramas, when in actual fact most of what we spend our days stressing and striving over we won’t even remember in twenty years time.

Today, if you are tired of living life like it’s an ongoing emergency, then stop, breathe and realise that life does go on even if the house isn’t spotless before you walk out the door; that everything doesn’t have to be perfect for you to be happy, and that your goals and dreams are meant to bless and inspire you, not constantly burden you under unrealistic schedules and deadlines which steal your joy.

Most things we think are urgent today we won’t remember in twenty years time, so ask everyday in the midst of life’s situations, “Is this really that urgent and worth stressing over, and what is God saying for me to do or not do today? Because life will go on even if we mess up, forget something, fail or even suffer loss and disappointment. So let’s take the pressure off and cut ourselves some slack, and know that even when things don’t go to plan it usually doesn’t have to be an emergency.

God has a way through, and all the wisdom, strength and resources we need to experience peace and fulfilment in all we do. He simply wants us to learn to wait and listen so that He can lead and guide us through our day, without the emergency!

“For Jesus is our peace” (Ephesians 2:14)

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27)

Prayer: Lord please help me to keep a healthy perspective and know what thing are really important, and where I have the tendency to make things bigger than they are. Please fill me with your peace, rest and the knowledge of your will for me today. In Jesus name Amen.

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